St. Patrick’s Day Countdown

St. Patrick’s Day is always a big deal at our house. Corned beef and cabbage simmer on the stove, Irish soda bread is in the oven just waiting to be covered in Irish butter and scoops of honey, and Irish music blares from most every speaker I can commandeer in the house. Before the day is over, a tear or two will be shared and you can always count on me attempting to teach those who gather on our front porch how to pour a Black and Tan.

I was going to go into a not-so-short description of why we celebrate and savor the day when ‘we are all Irish.’ Then it hit me. Why not just share the first chapter of the little travel book–Being Amanda In Europe–that I helped craft with Amanda and Andrew (our two oldest children)?

We have always got a great response to the shared letters featured in Amanda’s Ireland travels chapter; and the Irish blessings cannot help but warm the heart. Over the next four days, we will share the Irish story as we prepare for the arrival of another glorious St. Paddy’s Day!

– Greg

Day 1 of Amanda’s Ireland Trip; August 20, 2007

Amanda wrote:
We arrived here without any major problems; everyone got their bags fine! We
stored our luggage and just checked into Abraham house! We are off to the
historical jail for tonight and then Mass! I am well. I’ll e-mail you tomorrow with
another update before we go to Killarney!
Love ya!
It’s beautiful here!

Dad’s reply to Amanda:
Thanks for the update. Sounds like you’ve got off to a nice start to the trip. I’m
jealous, Mass in Ireland and visiting Killarney during the first few hours abroad—
that should be awesome! Have fun, be careful, and God bless!
May there always be work for your hands to do,
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine warm on your windowpane,
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you,
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you!
May the blessings of each day
Be the blessings you need most.

Day 2 of Amanda’s Ireland Trip; August 21, 2007

Amanda wrote:
It’s Tuesday here! We just went to Mass. We were maybe five minutes late, and it
was half over! LOL (laugh out loud)! It was pretty funny; the priest sped through
daily Mass!

So here is a summary of what we did yesterday. We got into the airport, we found
all of our friends, and went to where we were storing our luggage. That took
forever and then we went and checked into our hostel. We asked Shamus, the
hostel manager, where we should go. He suggested we go visit the old jail and
take a tour. So, we walked a bit then hopped on a bus. It was pretty cool, but we
were all so stinking tired that we couldn’t fully enjoy it! Then, we decided to walk back to our hostel. Bad move, kinda. It was really far! But, we stumbled on a sweet art gallery that was in a mansion. It had the most beautiful garden you have ever seen!! It was awesome! It was just like out of a fairy tale! Then we went back towards our hostel and finally decided on a restaurant that was somewhat cheap and looked Irish-enough! It was called O’Shea’s. It was okay and I bought my first Guinness! Let me tell you, it was disgusting. I spent four euro on it and didn’t even finish it! I don’t think I will be getting another one.

Today, we are off to Killarney! I will talk to you later! Hope you are doing well! Miss you all!
Love ya!

Dad’s reply to Amanda:
I love your travelogues. It was awfully quiet around the house yesterday. Mom
mentioned that it struck her during the day that you were not here and so far away.
I told her I had the same feeling all day. We are happy for you, but also know that
we will miss you. The e-mails help. Andrew started school today and then went to
work. We didn’t see him the rest of the day after he left in the morning. Poor Will
– he’s going to get way too much of our attention!

IRISH BLESSING OF THE DAY (it’s a familiar one):
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

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